Ferrari were Red Bull’s nearest challenger at Monza – and won the race in Singapore – before dropping behind McLaren and even Mercedes in subsequent races.
However, the long straights and low-speed corners at Las Vegas are expected to suit Ferrari.
Speaking to the media on Thursday, Sainz pointed to Ferrari’s pace in Italy and Singapore as a strong sign to whether the team will be competitive this weekend.
“[We have] better hope than recently, mainly because the track looks probably a bit more suited to us than recent tracks,” Sainz said. “Long straights like in Monza and tight corners like in Monza or Singapore.
“Maybe there’s the combinations of Turn 1 and Turn 2 where we will not be very quick, but then the rest of the track our cars should be better suited now than recent events and hopefully that gives us a better opportunity.”
It will be the first time F1 races in Las Vegas since 1982, with the drivers tackling an all-new street circuit along the iconic Strip.
Sainz stressed the need to be ‘confident on the brakes’ if he is going to be competitive.
“[Turns] 1, 2 and 3 I think is a good combination, they’re long corners,” Sainz added. “There’s two corners that stand out a bit to the rest of the track that is more like 90-degree angles or short apex corners
“I think there’s a very long combined braking, I think it’s Turn 6 and 7 and that, in the simulator, was actually quite tricky to get right. It’s obviously going to be about the long straights the big braking zones, being confident, getting close to walls also on the exit of the corners.
“Apart from that it’s just getting confidence with a low-downforce car. On such long straights with heavy braking, it’s about getting comfortable and it’s going to be the key.”